ATPE is proud to bring you this series of posts from our staff members. Today’s post features ATPE’s meetings and conferences director, Andrea Elizondo.
What drew you to working at ATPE?
I came to ATPE through a temporary agency. My first temporary assignment after I moved to Austin was with ATPE. ATPE really grew on me. I truly appreciated the work we do for educators and students in the state of Texas. Education is something I believe in wholeheartedly because it has benefited me in many ways. After about a year of working as a temporary employee off and on, a full-time position became available and I jumped at the opportunity to apply for it.
How long have you been working at ATPE? What was your first job here?
I have been at ATPE for 15 years. My first job was in accounts receivable. I helped to process all the ISD payroll registers, posted them to the member records, and assisted with the collection letter process. After about two and a half years, I was ready for a change. An opening in the Meetings and Conferences Department became available. It sounded like a fun and interesting job. I had no meeting planning experience, but thankfully my boss at the time took a chance on me because I had ATPE knowledge that other candidates did not have. Luckily, it turned out to be a perfect fit. I have really found my niche in the professional world. I never saw myself in the hospitality industry, but I love it!
What is the most important thing you’ve learned while working here?
There are two things: patience and persistence. The world is moving around us faster and faster day by day. But in the association world it takes time to get things done. We don’t do our work in a bubble. We must seek a lot of input from staff and members before we make a final decision. It can take months before an idea or a change is implemented, so you must be patient and stay motivated to get the work done. You also must be persistent. You can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. Just because something may not be the right idea now doesn’t mean it won’t be down the road. So, keep at it. Fight the good fight, if you will.
What is your favorite part of working at ATPE?
The people. The staff at ATPE are incredible. We have the most caring, interesting, and creative people on this team. They make coming in to work every day fun and worthwhile. We are all dedicated to the mission and vision of ATPE. In addition to the staff, the members are wonderful. I primarily work with the state officers and board of directors. I truly enjoy working with them and getting to know them as individuals. It’s fun to work with this group of leaders so closely. They are all so dedicated to ATPE and what we stand for as an association. It makes me proud to serve them day in and day out.
Share something fun about yourself that ATPE members might not know.
People are always shocked at my love of rock music. I’m not just talking ‘80s hair bands—yes, I do love those, too—but I’m talking hard rock/metal. Some of my favorite bands are A Perfect Circle, Tool, and Nine Inch Nails. One of my favorite things to do is go to concerts with my husband. I can’t even count the number we’ve been to, but it’s a lot. My husband and I met at an Alice in Chains concert. Music has always been a part of my life. Rock music is just something I have always been drawn to. It’s a way to let go of my frustrations and to celebrate successes.
As ATPE’s meetings and conference director, Andrea Elizondo organizes all of ATPE’s events, including our annual summit, where members gather to help lead our organization and develop priorities for the upcoming year. Learn more at atpesummit.org.